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The Final Countdown

July 29, 2014, 10:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

The Final Countdown

The Denny Sanford Premier Center is nearing completion. It's been years in the making, but soon the $117 million event center will open its doors to the public.

"I think the first thing on an event night they'll notice is the scoreboard," SMG director Terry Torkildson said.

The scoreboard, built by Daktronics, is 100-percent LED and measures 19 feet high by 24 feet wide. But there's more to this state of the art facility, like a ribbon scoreboard which the old arena never had.

The padded seats in the lower levels and upper plastic ones are all in place.  

Currently, the floor is set up for hockey. Stampede season ticket holders have gotten a good look at seats and are purchasing based on the spot they like the best.

Except for finishing touches, the private and public clubs are almost finished too, along with the sold-out suites.

"We're getting down to where we are going to start putting staff in and change from construction to operations, so we are very excited," Torkildson said. "Talk about the local involvement in building the events center and the sponsorships and how important they were to pulling this off?  The sponsorships were huge, first thing the mayor said throughout the process is that the building must operate in the black."

In order to do that, the city needed lots of corporate support. KELOLAND TV is one of the premier sponsors, giving naming rights to the lobby, known as the KELO-TV Box Office.

"Many of the buildings you go into they go in big as they possibly can, but cut as many corners as they can and you see a lot of the ugly stuff that just doesn't make the fan experience as nice and this building , the fan experience is really going to be an eye opener, welcoming and inviting, exactly," Torkildson said.

Another unique feature to this building is that 85 percent of the work was done by local contractors, which creates jobs and helps put people to work.

"So many companies have stepped to the table and done some great sponsorship packages, obviously the title sponsorship with Sanford and PREMIER is phenomenal," Torkildson said. "When you walk into the main floor, most people would say we could do an event today."

SMG will hold a grand opening this fall, but no date has been set yet. There are three headlining concerts already booked for October, including Jason Aldean, Demi Lovato and Cher.

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